Betterview launches AI-driven solution to determine roof age

US insurtech Betterview has launched a new AI-driven roof age solution to help P&C insurers avoid preventable losses and reduce premium leakage

San Francisco-based property risk insurtech Betterview has launched a new roof age solution product that helps insurers to gain greater insight into the risk posed by ageing roofs.

Older roofs are more prone to structural failure, damage from natural events such as wind and hail, and carry a higher probability of complete collapse. That is why it’s important for property insurers to have access to accurate roof age data; according to Verisk, inaccurate information about a roof’s age is currently costing the insurance industry US$1.3bn a year.

Betterview's solution uses AI and computer vision to analyse high-resolution aerial imagery, allowing it to accumulate more accurate roof age data. It also allows insurers to accelerate the quoting and binding process, prevent avoidable losses, fine-tune algorithms to properly price policies, and know where to prioritise physical inspections for properties with older or more risk-prone roofs.

‘Roof age has a huge impact on future losses’

“Traditional roof age estimates tend to come from two sources,” explains Jason Janofsky, Chief Technology Officer at Betterview. “The first is homeowner-supplied roof age (HOSRA), which is generally underestimated by five to even 15 years. The other source is permit data, which again gives an incomplete and outdated picture of roof age. Insurers need a reliable source and we decided there needed to be a better way.”

Betterview co-founder and chief operations officer Dave Tobias adds: “Roof age has a huge impact on potential future losses. Our new solution is unique in the industry and is a great supplement to existing data. We are confident that more accurate roof age data will boost efficiency for underwriting and pricing workflows, reduce premium leakage, and even help to avoid some future losses.”

There are a multitude of factors that go into determining a property’s exposure to risk, but knowing how old a roof is does not seem like the most obvious problem. Yet, for homeowners who have recently moved or haven’t needed to replace their roof in a while, determining the age can be difficult.

The research referenced by Janofsky – which shows that two-thirds of homeowner-supplied roof ages (HOSRA) were out by five years, and one-fifth of HOSRAs were underestimated by more than 15 years – was supplied by property intelligence solutions provider Buildfax. Roof age is also a dynamic rather than static risk factor, as the company estimates that 3-7% of property owners replace their roof in any given year.

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